Author Event: All We Have Left by Wendy Mills - Guest Post + Giveaway

I have with me today the absolutely WONDERFUL Wendy Mills, whose MUST READ book, All We Have Left hit shelves just yesterday! All We Have Left is a BEAUTIFUL book on the world after 9/11, the discrimination the misdirected anger and how to live with the pain of death.

It is a beautiful novel that YOU CANNOT GO WRONG WITH, and I HIGHLY suggest you pick it up! Wendy is here with us sharing her thoughts and giving away a SIGNED Hardcover of her BEAUTIFUL BOOK!
You are here.
Everyone else is…over there.

When I decided to include a Muslim character in ALL WE HAVE LEFT, the world had not succumbed to the fever-pitch of Islamophobia that we see today. Still, it felt important to show how 9/11 affected everyone in this country, regardless of race and religion. Now…it feels imperative.

Our world has increasingly become divided into “us” against “them.” It is a mentality that makes certain people feel better about themselves. It is a mentality that is so very dangerous. We all belong to groups–many different ones–but they do not have to be exclusive. If we keep dividing ourselves into smaller and smaller groups, eventually the only person who thinks and acts just like you…is you.

I told my blond, blue-eyed son the other day to imagine a world where we hated anybody who wasn’t blond and blue-eyed. “What about Dad?” he asked. “Nope,” I said. “Dad has brown hair. We don’t like him anymore.” This amused him to no end, and he kept asking questions: What about Smurfs? Do we like them? How about people with one blue eye and one brown eye? What if they had brown hair, but they dyed it blond? Would it be okay to like them? Finally, I told him I had a new game. “Imagine,” I said, “if everyone hated you because you were blond and blue-eyed.”

He got very quiet.     

We all live on the same map, a beautiful place bursting with so many colors and textures, a topography full of good and bad and everything in between. How sad it is if you never look outside the island you have created, full of people who look and think just like you. Any artist can tell you that a picture painted all one color is boring.  

My goal when writing ALL WE HAVE LEFT was not to portray the perfect Muslim. My goal was to portray real-life Islam, populated by people who not only deal with scratchy hijabs and noisy, growling stomachs during Ramadan, but who also worry about their class schedule, crave their favorite pizza, and wonder “does this dress make my butt look fat?”

It is when we forget the basic fact that we are all human that racism grows. All of us laugh, cry, and love. All of us hurt.

The only way that we will be able to bridge the gap between “us” and “them” is to understand that “they” are just like “us” in all the ways that matter. They are us, and we are them.

Here is a map:
 You are here. Everyone else is right here too.
Wendy Mills is the author of Positively Beautiful and All We Have Left, which has received two starred reviews and has been named as a “Summer Must Read” by Kirkus Reviews.

Wendy was born on the edge of the water and has never left it. She now lives with her family on a tropical island off the southwest coast of Florida, where she spends her time writing and dodging hurricanes.

Title: All We Have Left
Author: Wendy Mills
Publication Date: August 9th 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's 
Part of a Series?: No, Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: The Publisher via NetGalley!
Blurb Description: A haunting and heart-wrenching story of two girls, two time periods, and the one event that changed their lives—and the world—forever.

Sixteen-year-old Jesse is used to living with the echoes of the past. Her older brother died in the September 11th attacks, and her dad has filled their home with anger and grief. When Jesse gets caught up with the wrong crowd, one momentary hate-fueled decision turns her life upside down. The only way to make amends is to face the past, starting Jesse on a journey that will reveal the truth about how her brother died.
In 2001, sixteen-year-old Alia is proud to be Muslim... it's being a teenager that she finds difficult. After being grounded for a stupid mistake, Alia is determined to show her parents that that they must respect her choices. She'll start by confronting her father at his office in downtown Manhattan, putting Alia in danger she never could have imagined. When the planes collide into the Twin Towers Alia is trapped inside one of the buildings. In the final hours she meets a boy who will change everything for her as the flames rage around them . . .
Interweaving stories past and present, full of heartbreak and hope, two girls come of age in an instant, learning that both hate and love have the power to reverberate into the future and beyond.
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